Meeting new people can be intimidating, especially when no one’s there to introduce you. Finding the right words to start a conversation on the right foot is pretty tough. And trying to hold a meaningful or at least exciting conversation after that is even harder!
The key to initiating and maintaining a conversation is a strong beginning from which others can build. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Sometimes you’re just standing there, mind reeling and blank, desperately trying to come up with something! If you tend to be nervous in social situations
There’s no shame in memorizing a few openers that can lead to excellent conversation. Many people have go-to lines that they’ve found work best for them. A good opening subject will allow people to share their thoughts openly, possibly leading to deeper topics.
There are plenty of reasons you might need a good discussion opener. Maybe you’re trying to make new friends, fit in better at a social group, or get acclimated to a new work environment. Perhaps you’re even trying to start a conversation with strangers or engage more with those around you daily. Maybe you spend a lot of time meeting new people and want to network with them well. No matter the reason, here are eight great ways to start a conversation.
1. Start A Conversation By Talking About The Weather
Are you rolling your eyes at this suggestion? You shouldn’t be! There’s a reason this is one of the most common openers. It’s one of the most trusted great ways to start a conversation.
Sure, it sounds a little shallow and is a small talk opener. But studies have shown that people prefer innocuous openings when strangers have conversations with them. This is especially true for people approaching with romantic intentions, but it applies to everyone.
Small talk subjects aren’t deep, but they’re safe. They’re an innocent, simple, quickly relatable way to initiate conversation in a non-threatening way. Going the safe route can sometimes be a good option when trying to start talking to a stranger! Add extra detail for the other person to latch onto to make things more interesting.
- “I love this cloudy weather we’re having. It makes gardening much more comfortable!”
- “It’s a hot day. Do you know where I can get some water?”
- “It seems quite gloomy today, but I’ve heard forecasts say it’ll be much brighter tomorrow.”
2. Ask For Assistance to Start A Conversation
Asking questions is always an excellent way to start a conversation. Combine that with asking someone for help, and you’ve got a real winner! People love to be helpful, and your request will allow them to engage with you more closely. It’ll also likely lead to other discussions. You can ask questions like:
- “Do you know what time the bus gets here?”
- “Have you seen a keychain around here? I seem to have lost mine!”
- “Would you happen to know if there will be refreshments served after this?”
- “Could I please borrow your pen for a minute?”
The trick is to ask for something relatively simple. You don’t want to ask for complicated assistance that will take too much effort. This ensures the person will be able to provide that aid and still continue the conversation.
Interestingly, a mutual social understanding comes from accepting help from someone. They’ve given you support, and now you thank them and take the first step in introducing yourself. This will provide you with the chance to ask additional opening questions naturally. That’s why this is one of the best great ways to start a conversation!
3. Ask Someone To Tell You About Themselves To Break The Ice
It’s OK to have a little small talk now and then. But you should go deeper than that for great ways to start a conversation. Studies show that people are happier when they get to have more meaningful and personal conversations.
The simple phrase “tell me about yourself” is an excellent, open-ended start to an amazing conversation. It also gives the other person additional comfort, letting them determine what they share. Conversation can flow and evolve naturally from here.
4. Give A Compliment To Start A Good Conversation
Compliments are great ways to start a conversation. A sincere word of praise can go a long way. It can make people open up to talking to you. Sure, you’re buttering them up, but who doesn’t like feeling nice about themselves? Please mention that you were impressed by their performance or the capability they showcased to break the ice.
It’s worth noting that compliments can be a little bit tricky. You don’t want to come across as unintentionally flirtatious, for example. As such, avoid compliments that are based on someone’s physical appearance. These can make people uncomfortable. Alternatively, if you offer an appearance-based bit of praise, you can mention your partner to clarify your proper intent.
Most great ways to start a conversation involve the use of positivity. That’s because positivity begets more of itself! For example, you can say:
- “This food is delicious, don’t you think?”
- “I love this weather that we’re having!”
- “Your performance was amazing. I’d love to hear how you prepared!”
- “Did you go to that workshop? It was great!”
When you start a conversation based on something positive, you present yourself as pleasant. People will want to talk to you because you radiate friendly energy. You’ll encourage them to join in and feel much more at ease. You’ll increase your chances of a pleasant, long conversation.
Sometimes, making complaints or saying something negative can work as a conversation starter. That’s especially true in difficult situations that you’re sharing with someone. But opt for positivity over negativity if you want to ensure a healthy, happy discussion.
6. Say Something Funny For A Lighter Discussion
One of the great ways to start a conversation is through humor! Experts have pointed out how humor lightens the atmosphere, relieves tension, and helps stress levels.
If you can use humor to start a conversation, you’ll ease some of the existing awkwardness. Laughter makes people comfortable, and that’s always promising when initiating discussion. On top of that, you’ll get to show your fun side! You can do this in the following ways:
· Tell A Joke
Whether it’s an extended joke you’ve memorized or a simple one-liner, jokes are the go-to way to be funny. Try to steer clear of more risque or “dark humor” jokes about sensitive topics! Most people aren’t comfortable hearing those kinds of jokes from total strangers.
· Tell A Funny Story
A funny story allows you to talk about something more personal than general small talk. You’d be surprised how much people can connect over stories! Just try and keep the story relatively short so you can allow the other person to tell their own story, too. It’s a beautiful way to bond.
· Make Light Of A Shared Situation
If you’re in a weird situation with strangers, you can initiate a conversation by making a joke about that shared event. Shared concerns tend to bring people naturally closer together, breaking down typical barriers. Use that to your advantage, and good humor will do the rest!
7. Ask For An Opinion
Asking someone for an opinion indicates that you value and respect what they say. Lots of people enjoy feeling that their thoughts matter! It allows you to connect with them with a foundation of mutual respect.
Opting for relevant topics when asking for opinions is a good idea. Sudden, out-of-the-blue questions can be jarring, and you don’t know if that person knows much about random topics! Stick to things that are relatable and workable. Here are some examples of things you can say.
- “How do you like the food at that new cafe?”
- “Is that (brand) lotion? Does it work well?”
- “I was thinking of going to that class! How did you find it?”
- “What did you think of that movie?”
- “Which of these books do you most recommend?”
It’s also a good idea to continually ask a discussion partner for their opinion after you state yours. This keeps the conversation flowing and can create some great moments and insights.
8. Mention A Shared Experience To Start A Conversation
One of the quickest great ways to start a conversation is by bringing up something that already links you. A shared experience can give you a lot to talk about all at once and create a connection off of something solid. It gives you a common ground to build from.
Try to use the current situation to determine some easy-to-spot common ground. That will further help the flow of a conversation. Examples of topics that might be relevant are:
- The place where you grew up
- School you attended
- The place where you work
- Mutual acquaintance
- Hobbies or interests
Conversations are the building block for facilitating bonds, creating connections, and building relationships. It can be a little nerve-wracking to try and initiate these dialogues, but the payoff tends to be pretty rewarding. Better yet, it’s not as hard to do as many make it out to be!
It’s incredible how much can blossom from an innocuous and positively phrased statement. Something as simple as commenting on the weather or requesting help can lead to so much more. Knowing some great ways to start a conversation will ensure that you can hold your own in any social environment.
Still nervous about initiating conversation? Studies have indicated that people like you more than you think. Most people worry about what their conversation partner thinks of them more than they make their judgments. This interesting phenomenon is called the “liking gap,” which applies to virtually every situation.
Don’t fret too much about what someone thinks of you! Most of those you meet will be happy to start a conversation. Many of them are trying to find a way to do that, too. They might be as anxious as you about it! You bridge gaps and make new acquaintances by taking the first step with a good conversation starter. Try it out and see for yourself!